With the January transfer window now in full swing, it is time for Manchester City to consider what their squad may need to push them towards a second consecutive EPL Title.
City sit seven points behind Manchester United and have looked very flat (for the most part) in the first half of the season.
City dropped out of European competition, unable to win one game in their, albeit tough, Champions League group.
Anything short of silverware will be considered a failure for Roberto Mancini and his group.
While City may look to dabble in the transfer window, there are a few players from within who need to prove their worth to the club.
If any, or all of these group of players can step up, a transfer may not be needed. Otherwise these players could easily see themselves back on the transfer market as early as this window.
To say Mario Balotelli has underperformed this season would a gross understatement. I won't even touch the fact that he has only scored once this season, his overall play has been abysmal. His head certainly doesn't appear to be in the game. He has constantly played out of position, he is unable to to hold up the ball and look for support. He has not played like the Balotelli we all saw in the European Championship this past summer.
Balotelli needs to produce and produce now. This team has been lacking a finishing touch, and the 13 league goals that Super Mario produced last year are thoroughly being missed this season.
Roberto seems to have undying faith in this young striker, and I can't see him being sold in this window, but here is hoping that Balotelli can turn his season, and potentially his career, around immediately.
Javi Garcia was somewhat of a surprise signing late in the summer transfer window. Roberto Mancini obviously signed Garcia with the month of January in mind. After already signing English defensive midfielder Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia was also bought to add depth to the squad.
Mancini has been looking to add depth to this position for the purpose of replacing Yaya Toure during the African Cup of Nations.
In my opinion, Javi Garcia has been a decent rotation option in the defensive midfield, he has also shown he can add offensively with a few goals coming from his head.
With Jack Rodwell still injured, Javi Garcia must prove his worth and fill some very big shoes this month. The club need him to perform and now.
Javi Garcia, provides an aerial threat that few City plays can provide. If he can manage to win balls, make tackles and clear the middle of the pitch, then his threat in the air will be just a bonus.
Scott Sinclair was brought in from Swansea this summer to replace the out-of-favor Adam Johnson. Sinclair has only appeared in seven league fixtures, scoring one goal. If Sinclair is part of Mancini's plans, he must start playing. In saying that, Sinclair must earn his place on the pitch.
City have been missing a true winger who has the ability to beat defenders out wide and deliver accurate balls in the box. Mancini must start using Sinclair against weaker teams who just jam their own 18-yard box in defense for 90 minutes.
It should be apparent that passing through 10 men within the box is and has not been a comfortable way to win games. City must learn to alter their game against teams that wish to do this for 90 minutes, and I believe that width is the answer.
If Sinclair isn't capable of doing this then Mancini must sign a true winger this window. In the meantime, Sinclair has to prove he is capable of playing at a big club, he's no kid at the age of 23, and now is his time to prove what he's worth.
Joleon Lescott has had his job stolen this year by 19-year-old phenom Matija Nastasic. Nastasic's play has truly been amazing for a player who is not only so young, but just beginning to learn the English game.
Lescott had a rough ending to the 2011-12 season, and early injuries to this year gave Nastasic a chance to prove himself.
Lescott is at the point in his career where he needs first-team football. If he is going to remain with City, he needs to up his game and prove capable of being in the starting XI week after week.